The Zika Virus was discovered in 1947 in Uganda. It is one of the many virus spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Among these viruses, including Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, and Chikungunya, Zika caused a relative mild disease in most infected patients. Typical symptoms include a low grade fever, conjunctivitis, rash, muscle aches, and fatigue. Only about 20% of infected people will actually display symptoms.
Worldwide concern about Zika Virus has greatly increased. In the past year it was discovered that Brazil was experiencing an increase in babies born with microcephaly and other congenital anomalies. Investigations revealed that these babies and their mothers showed evidence of Zika virus infection. Although we do not yet have proof that Zika caused these anomalies, the increase in microcephaly coincides with the spread of the Aedes aegypti mosquito and Zika Virus throughout South and Central America. At this point, the only known cases of Zika Virus in the United States have occurred either in individuals who have traveled to endemic areas, or in the sexual partners of those individuals.
The Centers for Disease Control issued a travel alert and guidance for those people concerned about Zika Virus. http://www.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/zika-virus-south-america. In many ways, Zika Virus reminds pediatricians of Rubella Virus, in that it only causes mild symptoms in infected children and adults, but can cause significant birth defects in unborn children. For more information about Zika Virus, please check the website of the American Academy of Pediatrics at https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/prenatal/Pages/Zika-Virus.aspx or ask your pediatrician.